18. November 2015 · Comments Off on More Tips on Gem Care and Jewelry Cleaning · Categories: Gemstone Care, Gemstones, Tanzanite · Tags: , , , ,

The purpose of this post is to add to the information we provided on March 17, 2012 about gemstone hardness and cleaning methods. Below are a few more tips and additional information about gemstone and jewelry cleaning.

Striking 3.88 ctw Marquise Shape Tanzanite and Diamond Ring in 14k white gold

Tanzanite is susceptable to thermal shock, therefore, avoid rapid changes in temperature such as occurs during steam cleaning (image: Tanzanite ring from MyJewelrySource.com)

Tanzanite is susceptable to thermal shock, therefore, avoid rapid changes in temperature such as occurs during steam cleaning (image: Tanzanite ring from MyJewelrySource.com)

When a gemstone is subjected to a rapid temperature change it is referred to as thermal shock. Thermal shock can actually crack stones like tanzanite and peridot so don’t use hot water when cleaning them. Other gems that can be damaged from hot cleaning solutions include opal, lapis lazuli and turquoise. Thermal shock is one reason to avoid having your jewerly steam cleaned at your local jewelers especially if your jewelry contains any of the gemstones metioned above.

Organic gems like amber, pearls and coral, can be damaged by lotions, perfumes and especially ammonia, so that’s why you probably have been told to put your pearls on after you are completely finished getting yourself ready in the morning. Although most gems stand up much better to chemicals, it is best to remove jewelry when using cleaners or solvents and it is not recommended that jewelry be cleaned with them.

Chlorine can attack gold alloys and acids can etch gemstones so it is best to remove your jewelry before enjoying your pool.

Ultrasonic and steam cleaners can do a great job at cleaning jewelry but they have many drawbacks and we do not recommend them. Ultrasonic cleaners can loosen stones from their settings and damage porous stones like lapis or turquoise. Because most emeralds are oiled, they should never ever be placed in an ultrasonic cleaner because this will cause the oil to leak out of the stone and severely damage the gem’s appearance. This is also true of any fracture filled gemstones. Additionally, the vibrations caused by ultrasonic cleaners may loosen the stones in the settings, expecially rings with the pave setting of many small stones.

In summary, it’s best to avoid having your jewelry cleaned with an ultrasonic or steam cleaner altogether (even if you are offered a free cleaning by your local jeweler). We clean all of our jewelry at MyJewelrySource with a soft-bristled tooth brush or a cloth using plain luke warm or slightly soapy water or gentle jewelry cleaner.

18. November 2015 · Comments Off on A Quick Introduction to Sapphires · Categories: Gemstones, Gemstones 101, Sapphire · Tags: ,

An Introduction to Sapphires:

Although sapphire means blue in Latin, sapphires can be found in a rainbow of colors. Kings once believed these stones offered protection form harm and envy. Sapphires are calm and relaxing. Until the discovery of extraordinary stones in Kashmir in 1880, Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon) was the standard bearer of sapphire. The Kashmir supply was essentially exhausted by 1930, leaving Sri Lanka as the location of the world’s most beautiful sapphires. In the 1990′s Southern Madagascar became one of the top sources of good to fine quality sapphires. Sapphires are also mined in the US (Montana), Australia, Thailand, Cambodia and Northern Madagascar, however these locations don’t produce as fine a sapphire and are mainly used to supply “commercial grade” sapphires to the industry. Sapphires come other colors such as red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple and pink. Colors other than blue are referred to as “rainbow sapphires” or “fancy sapphires”. Sapphire is the traditional gift for the fifth and forty-fifth wedding anniversaries and the birthstone for September.

Buying a Sapphire:

2.83 carat Oval Ceylon Sapphire Solitaire Engagement Ring in 14k white gold

A Beautiful Blue Sapphire Ring

Overall, sapphires can be considered the ideal colored gemstone. Besides the amazing selection of colors, sapphires are highly durable with a rating of 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Sapphires in sizes of more than 1 carat are considered to be important. Minor inclusions are generally acceptable although certainly not as many as with ruby or emerald. Nearly all of the sapphires sold by MyJewelrySource are eye clean and most important, all are very pleasing to the eye. We offer a wide range of colors from a traditional Ceylon blue, to rich lustrous royal blue, to many styles with bubble gum and baby pink, orange, and yellow sapphires.

Care of Sapphires:

Since sapphires are tough and durable, they can withstand most cleaning methods. While steaming and ultrasonic cleaning will not damage the gemstone, these methods are not recommended by us as they may loosen the setting, and subsequently, stones may fall out. Your jewelry may be cleaned with a soft-bristled brush or a cloth with plain or soapy water. Sapphires should not be put in hot or boiling hot water since a stress fracture due to thermal shock my result. Avoid exposure to hairspray, perfume and chlorine, which can dull gemstones.

18. November 2015 · Comments Off on The Role of Gemstone Hardness in Selecting a Proper Cleaning Method · Categories: Gemstone Care, Uncategorized · Tags:
1.92 ctw Princess Cut Blue Sapphire and White Sapphire Ring in 14k white gold

With a hardness rating of 9, sapphires make an excellent choice for engagement rings or rings intended for everyday wear. Sapphires can be cleaned using most cleaning methods since they are tough and durable.

The hardness of the gemstones plays a role in what cleaning methods are appropriate for that gem. The Mohs scale of hardness will give you a lot of the information you need. Diamonds are the hardest gem with a Moh’s hardness rating of 10, followed by ruby and sapphire (hardness of 9), then topaz (hardness of 8), followed by aquamarine, tourmaline, emerald, and garnet (hardness of ~7.5), and then amethyst, citrine, iolite and zircon (hardness of 7). These gems are good choices for every day wear in terms of hardness, which is resistance to scratches. Extra care should be taken with gemstones with have a hardness rating under 7.0 since more every day items can scratch them. Gemstones that fall into this category are peridot, tanzanite, kunzite, and opaque gems like malachite, lapis lazuli, turquoise, opal and pearls.

Household dust generally has a hardness of 7, so if you were to use a cleaning cloth that had dust on it to clean your peridot, you could cause of light surface scratching. Metals such as gold and platinum have a hardness in the 3-4 range, and so they too can be scratched by a dusty cleaning cloth. Ever wonder why when you go to a jewelry store, they often show the jewelry on a soft pad? Besides the fact that it looks professional, it’s also because the glass countertop can actually scratch the softer gems like pearls.

Another issue that you may not have considered is that since gold and platinum are softer than most gemstones, a loose stone in a setting can actually slowly wear away at a prongs. So it is important to check your jewelry regularly to make sure the settings are secure.

MyJewelrySource.com recommends using lukewarm water and a soft toothbrush to clean your gemstones. You may also add a detergent-free soap as well. To clean out under the stones well, you can also use a pulsed water dental cleaning appliance. Finally, you can also use a lint/dust-free jewelry cleaning cloth to spruce up the metal mountings.